Logorama: A Great Demonstration of Trademark Fair Use
Post date: Nov 29, 2010 8:02:55 PM
Just yesterday I stumbled across the short animated film "Logorama" that apparently won an Academy Award in 2010 for best animated short. The film itself uses over 3,000 different trademarks in a span of 15 minutes, which is very impressive. What's even more impressive is the fact that no one has sued the filmmakers for trademark infringement. This is due, in large part, to the fact that these trademark uses are likely protected as a "fair use." I have discussed fair use before in regards to Girl Talk and copyrights (post here), and the same affirmative defense applies to uses of trademarks.
In general, in order to qualify as a fair use, the trademark in question must be used in a non-trademark manner -- essentially meaning that the mark is not being used to convey endorsement, sponsorship, etc. by the trademark owning company. In Logorama, the filmmakers do a good job of using trademarks but not misleading the viewer as to whether the mark-owning companies are endorsing the film. In the end, it all comes down to whether the ordinary viewer/consumer is likely to be confused.
For those of you interested in the short film, it can be viewed in its entirety on Vimeo. A word of warning, though, the film contains some language that may not be suitable for all ages.